U.S News. & World Report: Is it allergies or sinusitis? Many folks are misdiagnosed

UC research offers hope for more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment

New research out of UC examines the incidence of people who are being treated for allergies when they actually have chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), and the medicines they are taking for their allergy symptoms have little effect. U.S. News & World Report published a report on the research, interviewing the lead author Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, PhD, of the UC College of Medicine.

“We have seen so many patients suffer for so long due to the confusion between allergies and CRS,” said Sedaghat. “I’ve had patients who tell me that they have been treated with allergy shots for 10, 20 or more years without relief of their symptoms but who after we discovered they had CRS and we started them on appropriate treatment, achieved relief within a few months."

Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, in the UCGNI.

Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, PhD, professor of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

CRS affects almost 15% of Americans, according to Sedaghat. The condition is typically treated with antibiotics.

The trouble is, the outward signs of sinusitis can mimic those of a nasal allergy.

“As someone who grew up in [the Midwest], I can attest to how commonly we tend to attribute sinus and nasal symptoms to ‘allergies,'" Sedaghat said. "But the reason for this is that nasal allergies [allergic rhinitis] and CRS have overlapping symptomatology, often characterized by nasal blockage and nasal drainage. Both can also cause sinus pressure."

The treatment for CRS and nasal allergies is very different, however, which means that misdiagnosis can lead to months or years of needless misery.

The new study involved 219 people who'd been thought to have nasal allergies. Each underwent nasal endoscopy and testing to gauge the severity and type of their sinus/nasal symptoms.

“We specifically used this questionnaire to study our patients’ symptoms because we could simultaneously measure symptoms of CRS and allergic rhinitis without having to use different questionnaires,” Sedaghat explained.

A majority (91.5%) did have some form of environmental allergy, testing revealed.

Read the entire story here.

Read more about Sedaghat's research here.  

Lead photo/iStock

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